Tuesday, June 15, 2021

August 3, 2021 Special Election

Surprise folks, we've got another election happening in 2021. The Community College District of St. Louis, (and St. Louis County Missouri) Special Election has been scheduled for August 3, 2021. 

The only issue on your STL City August 3, 2021 ballot will be Prop R - an increase in the operating tax levy by $0.08 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation. The STLCC website estimates this investment to be approximately a $1.90/mo increase for a homeowner with a $150,000 home. This is the first request in nearly 40 years for a tax increase - the last time was 1984.

You can read the full press release by STLCC here about how they plan to use the additional operating budget, should it be approved by voters on August 3. 

Find FAQ's and more detail from STLCC on Prop R here

Watch the video from our Voter Info Night here.

YES on Prop R has been endorsed by Missouri Jobs with Justice and the St. Louis Labor Council.

Here are some highlights from STLCC:
• Provide real-world learning environments where the technology in the classroom matches the tools students need in the workplace.

• Focus on providing educational programs and services to the underserved and minority communities of the St. Louis region.

• Repurpose underutilized space to meet the needs of today’s students (many of the College’s facilities were built more than 50 years ago) and create new and functional spaces.

• Keep tuition low and affordable for students, as well as minimize student debt. At $116.50 per credit hour, the College strives to keep education affordable for unemployed or underemployed workers needing training and retraining for the high-wage careers of today.

According to their website, STLCC has this to say about their Economic Impact in the STL region: 

The Saint Louis Community College is the largest higher educational institution in the region, STLCC has served more than 1.2 million students. Over 50% of households in the St. Louis area are represented in our former and current student body.

Polls will be open 6am - 7pm on Tuesday, August 3, 2021. Need to know about finding your polling location or have questions about absentee voting? Check out details on the St. Louis City Board of Election website here. Remember to get out and VOTE!

Friday, March 5, 2021

April 2021 Muni General Ballot

Finish the Job!
With the new Approval Voting system in STL City, we now have a run-off between two Mayoral Candidates set for April 6th. That might be the top of the ticket, but that's not all we'll be voting on.
• Mayoral Run-off
• Comptroller 
• 3 At Large SLPS School Board seats
• Prop E (City Earnings Tax)
• Prop Y (MSD Rate Commission) 
• Prop 1 -5 (Amendments to the Plan [Charter] of MSD)

Scroll down to learn more about these candidates/issues you'll see on your Tuesday, April 6th ballot.
(click on image to enlarge)

You can also view the full ballot for your address at VOTE411.org brought to you by the League of Women Voters Education Fund.

Mayor Run-off Election

Ward 24 March Primary Results

STL Citywide March Primary Results

You can read more about the candidates on their websites, but no matter who wins this runoff election, it's clear that the voters of St. Louis have made it clear that they want new leadership. 

"Spencer and Jones, together, knocked off the city’s old guard, which was lining up behind Lewis Reed, president of the Board of Aldermen, who has now lost three races for mayor. Reed has reached his political ceiling, while Jones and Spencer are breaking through one of their own." - Tony Messenger

Cara Spencer website

Curious about how the maps looked for the Primary vote?
Here is a visualzation by Andrew Arkills - citywide shades reveal vote breakdown
Visualization by Walter Jenkins - citywide dot visualization of candidate support

Mayoral Events/Surveys:

Watch video from Mayoral Forum Hosted by Missouri Growth Association, St. Louis Realtors and ULI St. Louis or View live-tweet of ULI St. Louis Forum from 3/9/21 here

Landmarks Association of St. Louis Candidate Surveys from  Cara Spencer and Tishaura Jones

Watch the Mayoral Debate on Fox2 and KPLR11 (3-23-21)

The Community Justice Coalition virtual candidates' forum (3/27/21) [video to come]

Watch the SLACO Youth-Centric Debate (3-29-21)

Wednesday, March 31 at 6:30pm Virtual Mayoral Forum Hosted by Omicron Eta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated  

You can find many video links from Primary season Mayoral Forums/Debates on my previous Blog "Our Next STL City Mayor"


Darlene Green (unopposed) - Give her a vote, Ms. Green does a fantastic job for the City of STL.

SLPS School Board

SLPS Foundation and the American Federation of Teachers St. Louis, Local 420, AFLCIO candidate forum (3/11/21) watch recorded forum here or You can read the live-tweet of the forum here

STL Young Dems host SLPS Candidate Endorsement Forum (3/16/21) watch video here or you can
Read STL Young Dems candidate surveys hereThrough a vote of the membership, the STL Young Dems have endorsed: Sonnier, Davis, Vowell

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists - CBTU Saint Louis Chapter has endorsed: Davis, Merideth, Vowell
Ecumenical Council has endorsed: Davis, Merideth, Vowell

AFT St. Louis Committee on Political Education have endorsed the following candidates for St. Louis Public Schools Board of Education: Natalie V Vowell, Matt Davis, and David Meredith

Solidarity With SLPS has provided both the candidate survey responses and the grading rubric here

Their stated mission is "We are a group of St. Louis City residents working to support, defend, and help improve our Saint Louis Public Schools. We fight against privatization efforts of our children's education, including the proliferation of charter schools & defunding SLPS"

"Points were docked for failures to commit on questions 1-7 and answers that repeated privateer talking points around the union, school closures, or in-person learning. The scorecard does not represent formal endorsements in the Saint Louis Public Schools Board of Education race."

Solidarity with SLPS Candidate Survey Report Card 

Read about candidates supported by our 24th Ward Committeeman, Matthew Sisul: Daffney Moore and Toni Cousins. You can also watch their interview on Morning Blend Saint Louis. 

Here are the candidates in ballot order,
click on a candidate name for a link to candidate websites:

[10 candidates, vote for up to 3]

(WILLIAM (BILL) HAAS - will appear on the ballot, but Mr. Haas passed away on 3-31-21)

DAVID L. JACKSON, JR. - former School Board Member, Board President and VP (2007-15)

NATALIE VOWELL - current School Board Member and Board Secretary, Elected in 2017

J. L. MENDOZA QUINONES - (no website found)

- running in partnership with Toni Cousins

ANTOINETTE (TONI) COUSINS - running in partnership with Daffney Moore (email: antioncousins@gmail.com)

EMILY HUBBARD - Lots of great info on her website, FB, Twitter and Instagram campaign accounts

DAVID MERIDETH - Yes, that same Merideth family, in 2019 was just short of getting that 3rd open seat

ALISHA SONNIER - "Student Advocate. Student Activist."

MATT DAVIS - "I believe it’s essential that parents have a voice in running the school district"

(Check back as I'll be adding more info/links for candidates as I can find them)

Prop E (Earnings Tax) 

We need a 60% majority vote to keep the Earnings Tax (because a billionaire asked the whole state to make us keep reauthorizing it to try and eliminate it because it takes an equal 1% from rich people, too and he doesn't like that) VOTE YES ON PROP E!

Both the Committeeman and I have endorsed YES on Prop E.

Listen to Collector of Revenue, Gregory FX Daly on St. Louis Public Radio make the case to keep the Earnings Tax

Watch STL TV interview with Gregory FX Daly on Yes on E

Watch STL TV Prop E information Video

Graphic: Action STL Power Project
Graphic: Action STL Power Project
Graphic: Action STL Power Project

For clarity, each of these MSD Propositions stands alone. Each may pass/fail not affecting the others.
For example Prop Y passes and Props 1-5 fail  = Prop Y still passes. 

Prop Y (MSD Rate Commission)

Wastewater work is happening no matter what, the question in Prop Y is how we pay for it.

A YES Vote on Y will allow MSD to use Bond Financing to pay for this work, your bill will increase at a gradual rate over time.  A NO Vote will mean that your MSD bill will increase at a more rapid rate, but overall the project will cost less. 

Provided by MSD Project Clear

This short video gives a great explanation: Watch 2:00 Video "Understanding Proposition Y" Here

Fact Sheet provided by MSD

Propositions 1-5

All 5 of these Propositions refer to amendments to the Plan (Charter) of The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District. This will be voted on by both STL City Voters AND St. Louis County voters on April 6. You will vote YES if you agree to the change stated in the Proposition, NO if you do not want the amendment.

Read Tom Sullivan's Editorial in the Post-Dispatch on MSD Ballot Issues

St. Louis Public Radio "St. Louis Region’s Sewer Utility Looks To Sell Bonds For Service Improvements" Ballot issue overview

Plan Amendment Summaries provided by Plan Amendment Commission website

PROPOSITION 1  (Ballot Language)

Shall the Plan (Charter) of The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District be amended to remove obsolete provisions, modernize certain provisions, references and language and change certain provisions to align with current practices of the District, including but not limited to (a) removing obsolete positions and titles, (b) replacing “city workhouse” with “jail or detention facility”, (c) requiring that the District present annually to the City and County only upon request, (d) adding gender, sexual orientation, familial status, ancestry or national origin and disability to the list of protected classes, (e) providing that notice of proposed rate changes can be given by posting on the District’s website and other digital media, (f) replacing “affiliated with” with “a member of’ with respect to the current requirement that no two Trustees appointed from the City or County be “affiliated with” the same political party, (g) clarifying that documents submitted to the Board of Trustees in connection with an annexation also be made available to the public (h) and recognizing, in accordance with Missouri’s Sunshine Law, that hearings before the Civil Service Commission are not public hearings.

Proposition 1 Summary
⦁ Removes obsolete provisions, modernizes certain provisions, references and languages.

PROPOSITION 2 (Ballot Language)

Shall Article 5 of the Plan ( Charter) of The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District relating to the passage of ordinances be amended to provide that ( a) an affirmative vote by two members of the Board of Trustees appointed from the City of St. Louis and two members appointed from St. Louis County shall be necessary to pass any ordinance, resolution, regulation, rule or order, except that with at least five Board members present and unanimous consent of all Board members present, an affirmative vote of any four Board members shall be sufficient for passage. and ( b) ordinances shall take effect immediately upon enactment unless a later date is specified therein?

Proposition 2 Summary
⦁ Current Charter requires yes votes from a minimum of 2 Board Members from each appointing authority, the City and County, to pass any ordinance, rule, etc.
a. New rule: If 5 present and with unanimous consent, any 4 yes votes will suffice for passage
⦁ Ordinances shall take effect immediately

Screencap from MSD Charter 6/5/12

PROPOSITION 3 (Ballot Language)

Shall Article 7 of the Plan ( Charter) of The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District relating to the Rate Commission be amended to provide that ( a) a Rate Commission Representative Organization shall only have one voting Delegate, ( b) the Rate Commission Report shall be issued to the Board of Trustees no later than 165 days after receipt of a Rate Change Notice, ( c) the Board of Trustees is deemed to have accepted a Rate Commission Report if not rejected by resolution of the Board of Trustees within 100 days from the date the Rate Commission Report is issued, and ( d) a clarification be made to the criteria governing rates so that the financial impact on all classes of ratepayers is considered in determining a fair and reasonable burden?

Proposition 3 Summary
⦁ Clarifies Rate Commission voting delegates and timeline.
⦁ Requires consideration of financial impact on all classes of ratepayers to determine a fair and reasonable burden.

Screencap from MSD Charter 6/5/12

Screencap from MSD Charter 6/5/12

PROPOSITION 4 (Ballot Language)

Shall Articles 5 and 8 of the Plan ( Charter) of The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District be amended to provide that ( a) compensation of a Trustee shall be $ 25 for each day of attendance at a public meeting of the Board and ( b) compensation of a member of the Civil Service Commission shall be $ 25 for each day of attendance at a meeting of the Commission, not exceeding $ 625 in any one fiscal year?

Proposition 4 Summary
⦁ Changes compensation for Trustees and members of Civil Service Commission to $25 for all public meetings.
⦁ Average annual Board compensation changes from $300/year to $600/year

Screencap from MSD Charter 6/5/12

Screencap from MSD Charter 6/5/12

PROPOSITION 5 (Ballot Language)

Shall Article 7 of the Plan ( Charter) of The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District be amended to permit the District to engage the same independent auditing firm for a period in excess of five consecutive years if the District lets a competitive bid for auditing services and the lead audit partner or concurring partner does not perform auditing services for the District in excess of 5 consecutive years?

Proposition 5 Summary
⦁ Permits the District to engage the same independent auditing firm in excess of five consecutive years.
⦁ Only if District holds competitive bid for auditing services and the lead audit partner/concurring partner is changed.

Screencap from MSD Charter 6/5/12

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Our Next STL City Mayor

The field is set, we have four candidates for Saint Louis Mayor in the March 2, 2021, Non-partisan Municipal Primary Election. With the passage of Prop D in November, we now have Approval Voting for the offices of Mayor, Comptroller, President of the Board of Aldermen, and Aldermen. 

For those of us in the 24th Ward, we don't have an Aldermanic race this year, so you'll only have Mayor and Comptroller on your ballot, both qualify for Approval Voting, but since our current Comptroller Green is running unopposed, it doesn't change anything in that race.

With Approval Voting, you can choose one or more candidates that you like in this Primary. The top two vote earners will go on to the General Election (April 6, 2021) and you can select your one favorite there.

So, let's meet the Mayoral Candidates:

Reed is currently serving as President of the Board of Aldermen. Running unsuccessfully for Mayor in 2017 Reed received 18.3% of the vote to Lyda Krewson's 32.04% citywide in the Democratic Primary (which had 7 Democrat candidates). In July 2020, Reed introduced BB71 which had language closely mirroring the Rex Sinquefield-funded ballot initiative that had been rushed through the board in an effort to Privatize Lambert Airport. Additionally, Reed is responsible for bringing Nextdoor website/app to Saint Louis. 

"For Lewis Reed, Mayor’s Job Would Allow ‘Implementation’ Of Priorities At Long Last" listen to Lewis' interview on St. Louis Public Radio, here.

First elected in 2015 after unseating a 20-year Alder in the 20th Ward and then winning reelection in 2019 with 70% of the vote. She's been a vocal anti-privatization advocate at the BoA even in the face of intimidation by one of the consultants tied to the effort who threatened to recall her. Spencer has taken on politically connected slumlords and interests in the city and proven herself as a fighter for her community. Spencer's campaign is a grassroots effort fueled by volunteers reflecting her commitment to people over politics. 

"As Mayor, Cara Spencer Would Use ‘Focused Deterrence’ To Fight Crime" listen to Cara's interview on St. Louis Public Radio, here.

Tishaura O. Jones is currently serving as Treasurer for the City of Saint Louis. One day after being re-elected, she announced her candidacy for Mayor. Jones is known for establishing the Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) during her tenure as City Treasurer. Which among other things, funds a College Kids Program helping St. Louis students save for their college tuition. Criticism of this effort is largely due to compartmentalizing parking revenue funds from the general funds of the city. Advocates for Jones support her use of funds for programs of the OFE, sighting the benefits to city residents, especially youth who otherwise might not be able to fund a college education. 

"As Mayor, Tishaura Jones Would ‘Reenvision’ Public Safety — And Maybe Cut Police Overtime" listen to Tishaura's interview on St. Louis Public Radio, here.

As you may know, reproductive rights are a passion of mine, so I was thrilled to see both Cara Spencer and Tishaura Jones have been endorsed by the political arm of Planned Parenthood and Naral Pro-Choice Missouri has given Jones an endorsement and Spencer the Friends of Reproductive Freedom designation.

Andrew Jones (R) ran for Mayor in 2017 losing to Lyda Krewson by 17.30% to 67.53%. During that race, Jones remarked that "he’s got Democratic apathy on his side"  Candidates won't have their political affiliation listed this time, but Andrew Jones is the only Republican you'll see on your Primary Ballot for Mayor. 

"As Mayor, Andrew Jones Would Have The Police Department’s Back" hear Andrew's interview on St. Louis Public Radio, here.

Personally, I'll be supporting both Cara Spencer and Tishaura Jones in our upcoming Primary.

Alderwoman Dr. Megan Green wrote a great rationale on this and both these candidates also have the Endorsement of our Alderman, Bret Narayan.

2021 Mayoral Debate & Forum Links 

Here are links to watch video from some of the past events:

(1-13-21 video from live event) SLACO Youth Event 
(1-14-21 video from live event)  St. Louis Area Voting Initiative Candidate Forum
(1-17-21 video from live event) Action STL "The People's Debate"
(1-18-21 video from live event)  Qu'art Debate on Queer+ Issues 
(1-19-21 video from live event) St. Louis Young Democrats Event
(1-21-21 video from live event)  Continuum of Care STL Forum on Homelessness
(1-30-21 video from live event) Ward Hosted Forum 
(2-06-21 video from live event) Sponsored by the Community Justice Coalition
(2-16-21video from live event) Environmental Forum hosted by Missouri Sierra Club 
(2-17-21 video from live event) St. Louis Mayoral Forum hosted by The Appeal
(2/23/21 video from live event)- Nine PBS Hosted Virtual Mayoral Debate 
(2/25/21 LINK TBD for Homes for All Forum when available)

In 2017, we had seven Democratic candidates in the Primary. 

Tishaura Jones received the second-highest numbers in the ward with 557 votes and Lewis Reed was 4th with 220 votes, but the clear winner was Lyda Krewson with 960 votes. 

P1 - Clayton/Tamm
P2 - Cheltenham
P3 - Ellendale
P4 - Clifton Heights
P5 - Clifton Heights
P6 - Franz Park
P7- Hi-Point
P8 - Franz Park

You really should VOTE in Municipal Elections.

Did you know that the Mayor and the Comptroller (along with the President of the Board of Aldermen) make up the Board of Estimate and Apportionment (E&A) controlling the city operating budget? Who we elect into these seats directly affects your life as a city resident.

Turnout is historically pretty low in the Municipal Elections. The 24th Ward averaged 28.17% in the 2017 March Municipal Primary and a slightly better 37.01% in the April General (the last Mayoral Election).  I know we can beat these turnout numbers in 2021, so...

Make your plan to vote today. 

Absentee request forms (to have a ballot sent to you) are available NOW for the March 2 Primary and April 6th General Elections. In-person absentee voting will open on 1/20/21 at the Election Board at 300 N. Tucker and additionally in satellite locations two weeks prior to the Election.